Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
What is PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or simply PrEP, is a medicine aimed at people who are at risk of contracting HIV, which prevents this from happening.
Who can take PrEP?
Adolescents and adults who weigh at least 75 pounds and face a risk of contracting HIV from drug injections or unprotected sex.
How effective is PrEP?
PrEP reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sexual intercourse by 99% and from drug injections by 74%.
How long does PrEP take to start working?
PrEP becomes the most effective in protecting an individual from anally-contracted HIV after a week of daily use. However, it takes 21 days for it to reach maximum results in relation to receptive vaginal sex and drug injections.
How can I get PrEP?
One can receive PrEP from medical clinics through their insurance provider, regional health departments, or Planned Parenthood centers. A doctor will access the person’s eligibility for the treatment by examining their medical and sex histories.
How much does it cost to take PrEP?
The monthly cost of PrEP is roughly $2000, which prevents many people from taking it as it is quite a big expense. However, insurance plans usually cover these costs. In addition, there are a variety of programs, which make the treatment free or reduce its cost.
PrEP side effects
The most common side effects of PrEP are headache, vomiting, hair loss, nausea, and issues with proper kidney function due to the increase of enzymes such as creatinine and transaminases. Loss of appetite is another side effect to keep in mind.
Outline PrEP requirements
The first appointment usually implies the assessment of an individual’s eligibility for PrEP, the HIV/STI testing, and the kidney function check-up. Once PrEP is approved, it is important to remember that its renewal requires HIV/STI testing every 3 months, and monthly follow-up appointments to get the prescription again.
Safer sex practices
HIV, it is not a reliable method of practicing safe sex since it does not protect one from sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). Thus, using confirms and having intercourse with partners who have recently gone through STD testing are the most reliable options.
Referrals and other resources in South Carolina
Mental Health America of Aiken County, Overflow Foundation, EMPOWERR Program, Piedmont Care, AIDS Benefit Foundation are some of the referrals and organizations with various resources for people struggling with HIV/AIDS and in need of mental support.